Money Can’t Buy Me Love: 'We Can't Serve God and Money'

Money Can’t Buy Me Love

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls . . .  So wrote Simon and Garfunkel in their 1966 hit song, The Sound of Silence. If we pay close attention, we will find that the secular artists (poets, musicians, authors, etc.) of a culture often speak kingdom values and insights to the people of God with a clarity not found among the people of God.

Continue reading

Kingdom Values in John’s Epistles – One Anothering: 'Monday Morning Musings - November 23, 2020'

John’s epistles are sometimes over-shadowed by Paul’s doctrinal epistles. John’s first epistle at first glance seems simple, repetitive, and to the English eye and ear, not well written. Nothing can be further from the truth. John’s structure and style are laden with purpose and his message is practical and profound: if you do not love one another, you do not know God. We know we have passed from life to death, not because of our doctrinal convictions (as some would present Paul), but by our love for the brethren. Failing here has far reaching consequences.

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

______________________________

Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

Defining Orthodoxy Relationally: 'It Takes More Than Correct Doctrine to be Truly Orthodox'

Orthodoxy Relationally Defined

Defining Orthodoxy Relationally

“Objective historic theology is Reformation theology.  It is historical evangelicalism.  It is historical orthodoxy.”  So says John MacArthur (Charismatic Chaos: 32). If John’s lips are moving, there’s a good chance I don’t agree with much of what’s coming through them! The narrow and sectarian nature of that statement is appalling. But John is just following in the footsteps of his spiritual forefather, Martin Luther.  Luther said that in the history of the church no one–not Augustine, not any of the Church Fathers–NO ONE other than himself–ever understood “pure doctrine.” He called everything before himself “great darkness.” (Table Talk: §530)  

Continue reading

Individualism and the Kingdom – A Clash of Cultures: 'Monday Morning Musings - November 16, 2020'

At the foundation of Western thought, political and religious, are certain presuppositions about the supposedly self-evident nature of human existence as “individuals.” Individualism as a belief system referring to the “autonomous self,” is not a value found in Christ’s kingdom. Ephesians 4:25 says: we are “of one another, members.” That is, our existence is social. The life of Christ and his kingdom is only fully experienced socially. This is threatening to deeply held Western cultural values, but none-the-less, Christianity 101.

__________________________

Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

Gnostic Evangelical Christianity: 'Monday Morning Musings - November 9, 2020'

“>

“You are a spirit, who has a soul, and lives in a body.” Have you ever heard that? ” Jesus was ‘”God in a zipper-suit.” Have you ever heard that? I have heard both, hundreds of times growing up in evangelical/Charismatic churches. They are 100% Gnostic; 100% mishandling of 1 Thess. 5:23 and in my experience, common beliefs among thousands of poorly taught Evangelical believers.

_______________________________

 

Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

 

Pizzeria or Library?: 'Monday Morning Musings - November 2, 2020'

If you are hungry, you look for a restaurant, not a library. Jesus said: Feed my sheep, not intellectually inform them. Paul describes the Church as the One Loaf for the world: a strong metaphor implying being “consumed” by others as foundational to our calling and mission. Paul speaks of an “aroma of Christ.”  It is not difficult to get people who are craving pizza into a pizzeria. The question for us as Christ-followers becomes: What are we? A pizzeria or a library. Too commonly it is the latter and then we wonder why no one is eating: we are not putting out any aroma, and what we are presenting isn’t food.  We just have strongly held convictions about “the Bible.” Many “evangelistic” modalities are like expecting people to find food in a library. The kingdom of Jesus does not operate that way.

___________________________________

Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

The Power of Love in a Christian Community: 'What a Healthy Local Church Looks Like'

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

The Power of Love in a Christian Community

If you have followed me any length of time, you know I am not shy about critiquing the corruption and short comings in institutional and organized forms of Christian religion. I know many of you, like myself, have experienced not just poor church experiences, but scarring and damaging ones. Many are wary, rightfully so. Many are in extreme forms of reaction, both theologically and emotionally to anything formally structured or organized  in terms of following Jesus with others–being the people of God together practically. Frankly, some have lost hope and given up.

That is why this post is so important. I have permission to share it and have blanked-out personal names to maintain privacy.  

I believe this real-life, real-time letter from a pastor I know personally embodies the values and the transformative power of what can happen in a local church REGARDLESS of how it is STRUCTURED, when Christ is exalted and central at all times, where the good news of the gospel is relentlessly preached in a simple yet powerful way, and where loving and serving each other is all that matters practically.

 I believe it will be worth your time to read. 

Continue reading

Reality is in the Meal, Not the Menu: 'Monday Morning Musings - October 26, 2020'

Just because you have memorized a restaurant’s menu, does not mean you know anything about the reality of what the menu represents. The reality is in the meal, not the menu. Within Protestantism we have had 500+ years of “preaching the Word.” It is assumed that in so-doing we have faithfully discharged Christ’s mandate. If better or more preaching was necessary for the kingdom of Jesus to grow in Western cultures, we would be far better off spiritually and civically than we are today. The world is not waiting for another sermon. The world is waiting to see some people who resemble and act like, the Firstborn of many brethren (Romans 8:28 ff). The world does not need another lecture. It is high time that those who espouse a message and expect others to conform their lives to that message, bear a family resemblance to the One whom they preach. The essence of Christianity is incarnational, transformational, and manifestational, not informational.

______________

Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

Gnostic Christianity: 'Monday Morning Musings October 19, 2020'

The incarnation of Jesus–him taking on the totality of what it means to be human-body, soul, and spirit–is a statement about the value of the realm of time and space–the created order. The incarnation has given value to and sanctified ALL of the created order. There are some prevalent strains of Western Protestantism that are more Gnostic in their belief systems than biblical, though they might aggressively deny it. Over-emphasis on the “spirit realm” and defining “spiritual reality” by denigrating or devaluing the material realm, including or mortal bodies, is 100% Gnostic, no matter how much Bible veneer it may have.

Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

___________________________

Truthing It!: 'Monday Morning Musing October 12, 2020'

Truth is biblically defined as fidelity in relationships, not accuracy of our doctrine derived from the Bible. The Great Commandment is fundamentally relational. Jesus called himself the “Truth” because he had maintained relational fidelity toward and with God AND humanity. People who are informed about the Bible, but who exist in relational dysfunctionality, misrepresent Christ and His Gospel.

__________________________________